Entrepreneur Innovation Awards

Want Connecticut’s Innovation Ecosystem to fund your idea? We’d love to help. CTNext, a support network for Connecticut entrepreneurs, is looking to give our state’s most promising startups—yours!—grants of up to $10,000 to fund projects that help to advance businesses.

Selected applicants will then be invited to one of our Entrepreneur Innovation Awards (EIAs) events for the final phase of review, where you’ll be asked to present your idea live to a panel comprised of entrepreneurial experts.

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Any Connecticut startup is eligible. Projects for an EIA must have a clear deliverable milestone that helps a company propel itself to the next stage. Projects can include small-scale prototyping, preparatory work for R&D, performance testing, compliance testing, product or service development, innovation or technology audits, market research, customer development, engineering design, technology transfer, or licensing.

Expenses ineligible for funding include any expenditure of time by in-house personnel of the applicant, routine and readily-predictable business expenses, any administrative fee or surcharge for administering these expenditures, design and production of marketing or advertising materials, promotion activities, costs associated with applying for government grants or programs, costs of internships or support for students of knowledge institutions, basic professional services such as ongoing routine accounting, tax and legal business requirements or financing fees, routine testing and maintenance, travel and entertainment costs, or hospitality costs.

Applicant must submit:

• Online application

• PowerPoint describing the company, proposed project and budget (template provided)

• Letters of good standing from the Department of Labor, Secretary of State and Department of Revenue Services

• An optional five-minute video pitch, specific to the proposed project

• Online registration as a CTNext Member, JOIN HERE

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Although each project cannot exceed $10,000, applicants are eligible to win $30,000 in grants over the lifetime of the company. Therefore, applicants can submit and be awarded $10,000 grants up to three times. Grant projects should begin upon receipt of the EIA offer letter. The grant must be used to pay for the work as outlined in the application process.  Funds are disbursed directly to the awarded company based on project milestones. Please keep in mind that awardees are expected to achieve the project’s scope of services as outlined and approved in the application.  Any substantial changes must be consistent with the overall intention of the approved project and communicated with CTNext.  Any termination of the project by the award recipient must also be communicated to CTNext.

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